Detecting heart defects in newborns has always been difficult for doctors to do. The current level of ultrasound technology combined with the small size of newborn hearts makes finding problems a massive issue. However, new advances in imaging may help doctors discover these defects much easier.
The Medical Imaging Laboratory in Trondheim has made unique advances that will help both ultrasounds and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to better show differences in newborn organs. This will make finding heart defects easier for doctors in the long run. This has been a common issue that many doctors have trouble with unless they have years of experience looking for these tiny problems.
“Making the correct diagnosis is the greatest challenge facing paediatric cardiologists,” explains Siri-Ann Nyrnes, Consultant at the Paediatric Department of St. Olav’s Hospital. “The organs are so small, and current ultrasound imaging can only provide limited information. A cardiologist needs many years of experience to be able to make a diagnosis with any certainty.”
The new process, called blood flow imaging (BFI), shows doctors a 2D image of the blood flow by visualizing the movement superimposed via a Doppler. The result displays blood flow no matter how the ultrasound is positioned over the heart. This can help doctors to see issues with more ease than current methods.
During the study researchers looked at 13 children with ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart. The children were compared using the new BFI and conventional methods for examining blood flow. Researchers found they got a more detailed look using the new method on these children.
This new process may mean that infant heart defects will be better diagnosed and therefore treated at greater rates. With this new process doctors will be able to find more problems much sooner and get more infants the help they need. – Summer, staff writer
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